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Bahamas



Capital: Nassau

Time Zone: –5 hours (–4 from first Sunday in April until last Sunday in October).
Tel. Country Code: 1
USADirect Tel.: 1
Electrical Standards: Electrical current is 120/60 (volts/hz). North American Style Adaptor Plug. Grounding Adaptor Plug A.


Travel Advisory - Bahamas

Travelers to Central and South America and the Caribbean need to protect themselves against mosquito-transmitted viruses, such as dengue and Zika, as well as nighttime biting mosquitoes in countries where there is  the threat of malaria. I recommend all travelers use a combination of DEET or Picaridin repellent on their skin and Permethrin fabric insecticide on their clothing for greater than 99% protection against mosquito and tick bites.

Dr. Rose Recommends for Travel to Bahamas


Resource Links

NaTHNaC
World Health Organization
CDC
Travel Health Services
Country Insights
Travel Warnings
Consular Information
Foreign Commonweatlh Office

Embassies

• U.S. Embassy
Queen Street
Tel: [1] (242) 322-1181
After hours tel: 328-2206
Website: http://nassau.usembassy.gov/

• Canadian Embassy
Shirley Street
Shopping Plaza
Nassau
Tel: [1] (242) 393-2123 and 2124
Fax: [1] (242) 393-1305
E-mail: cdncon@bahamas.net.bs

There is no British High Commission in The Bahamas. For emergency consular assistance, please telephone [1] (242) 357-9005 or Phone/Fax [1] (242) 327-5309. Alternatively, contact the British High Commission in Kingston, Jamaica.

• British High Commission
28 Trafalgar Road
Kingston
Jamaica
Telephone: [876] 510 0700
Fax: [876] 511 5335 Consular
Email:consular.kingston@fco.gov.uk
Website:www.britishhighcommission.gov.uk/jamaica

Entry Requirements

HIV Test: Not required.

Required Vaccinations: Yellow fever vaccine is required for all travelers over 1 year of age arriving from any yellow-fever-infected country in Africa or the Americas, but is not recommended or required otherwise.

Passport Information

Passport/Visa: U.S. citizens may contact The Embassy of the Bahamas at 2220 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel: 202-319-2660), its Consulates in Miami and New York, or by email at bahemb@aol.com . Sea travelers must have a valid U.S. passport (or other original proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a certified U.S. birth certificate with a government-issued photo ID). Voter registration cards, Social Security cards, driver's licenses, affidavits, and other similar documents are not acceptable as proof of U.S. citizenship. U.S. citizens do not need to obtain visas to visit the Bahamas. However, U.S. citizens planning on an extended stay of several months may be asked to provide proof or evidence of financial solvency upon entry to Bahamian immigration authorities. 

Vaccinations: Recommended and Routine

Hepatitis A: Recommended for all travelers >1 year of age not previously immunized against hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B: Recommended for all non-immune travelers at potential risk for acquiring this infection. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from acupuncture, tattooing or body piercing; when receiving non-sterile medical or dental injections, or unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin sores on an infected person. Recommended for long-term travelers, expatriates, and any traveler requesting protection against hepatitis B infection.

Influenza: Vaccination recommended for all travelers >6 months of age who have not received a flu shot in the previous 12 months.

Routine Immunizations: Immunizations against tetanus-diphtheria, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine) and varicella (chickenpox) should be updated, if necessary, before departure. MMR protection is especially important for any female of childbearing age who may become pregnant.
• The new Tdap vaccine, ADACEL, which also boosts immunity against pertussis (whooping cough) should be considered when a tetanus-diphtheria booster is indicated.

Typhoid: Recommended for all travelers with the exception of short-term visitors, business travelers, and cruise passengers who restrict their meals to major restaurants, hotels and resorts.

Hospitals / Doctors

High-quality medical care is available in Nassau and Freeport by English-speaking doctors.
All travelers should be up-to-date on their immunizations and are advised to carry a medical kit as well as antibiotics to treat travelers diarrhea or other infections. Travelers who are taking regular medications should carry them properly labeled and in sufficient quantity to last for the duration of their trip; they should not expect to obtain prescription or over-the-counter drugs in local stores or pharmacies in this country - the equivalent drugs may not be available or be of unreliable quality.
• Travelers are advised to obtain comprehensive travel insurance with specific overseas coverage. Policies should cover: ground and air ambulance transport, including evacuation to home country; payment of hospital bills; 24-hour telephone assistance. In the event of a serious illness or injury that can't be treated adequately in this country, the traveler should be flown by air ambulance to Miami or other close U.S. destination for emergency medical care.

The U.S. Embassy has a listing of doctors and hospitals at: http://nassau.usembassy.gov/hospitals_and_clinics.html

An additional hospital listing is at: http://www.hospitalsworldwide.com/hospitals.php?country=Bahamas

• Princess Margaret Hospital
Nassau, New Providence
Tel: [1] (242) 322-2861
Website: http://www.phabahamas.org/hospitals_patient_pmh.php
The 400+ bed publicly (government) operated Princess Margaret Hospital includes the following departments: medical, surgical, maternity, intensive care, pediatrics, eye wing, chest wing, private wing including specialist medical, surgical, obstetrical and gynecological services, ambulatory care facility including accident and emergency, general practice and specialty clinics, dialysis units, laboratory including blood bank, x-ray, physiotherapy and pharmacy.

• Rand Memorial Hospital
Freeport
Grand Bahama
Tel: [1] (242) 352-6735
Website: http://www.phabahamas.org/hospitals_gb_rand.php
The Rand Memorial Hospital, located in Freeport became a public hospital in 1971. The hospital has a bed complement of 86, and provides general acute care as well as full-time services in selected specialties including Ob/Gyn, Nephrology, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics, Radiology, Dentistry and Ophthalmology. 24-hour emergency services. Visiting specialists provide services in Urology, Infectious Diseases, ENT, Orthopedics and Oncology.
Rand Memorial Hospital also serves as a primary health care centre for the Freeport area.

• Doctors Hospital
Collins Ave. and Shirley Street
Nassau
Tel: [1] (242) 302-4600
Website: http://www.doctorshosp.com/
The 70+ bed privately operated Doctors Hospital deals with acute care. Medical specialties are emergency medicine, ear, nose and throat, general surgery, orthopedic surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, internal medicine, family medicine, gastroenterology, urology, cardiology, cardiovascular surgery and pediatrics. There are three operating rooms, one with laminar flow, intensive care unit with eight beds, maternity suite with 14 beds, nuclear medicine, electroencephalography. Emergency doctors are on the premises 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
• Doctors Hospital also operates a 24-hour emergency department at the new Western Medical Plaza near Nassau International Airport.

• The Lyford Cay Hospital
Tel: [1] (242) 362-4400
Lyford Cay Hospital has a hyperbaric chamber for the treatment of divers with decompression illness. This is a 12-bed facility that includes a three-bed coronary care unit and four-bed telemetry unit. (Incorporates the Bahamas Heart Institute.) Among the units are: operating theatre, x-ray and laboratory as well as an emergency room with a doctor on call 24 hours. Specialist treatment is offered in cardiology, internal medicine, family practice, plastic surgery, gynecology and stress echocardiography.
• More hospital information at: http://www.thebahamasguide.com/facts/hospitals.htm

Destination Health Info for Travelers

AIDS/HIV: The incidence of HIV/AIDS in the Bahamas is among the highest in the Caribbean. AIDS and HIV infection are now the second most frequent cause of death in the general population. Transmission of HIV is most often heterosexual or from injecting drug use with shared/contaminated needles and syringes. The Caribbean has a well-established HIV epidemic and the incidence of HIV/AIDS in the region is now second only to sub-Saharan Africa, making the region the second most affected in the world. The predominant route of HIV transmission in the Caribbean is heterosexual contact. Much of this transmission is associated with commercial sex, but the virus is also spreading in the general population. The contribution by men having sex with men is significant but not well documented, due to a general atmosphere of homophobia making data gathering difficult. At one extreme, Haiti has the highest HIV prevalence in the entire western hemisphere (3.8%); at the other, Cuba has one of the lowest (0.1%). The Bahamas (3.3%), Trinidad and Tobago (2.6%) and Guyana (2.4%) are all heavily affected, while Puerto Rico is the only Caribbean country apart from Cuba where it is thought that less than 1% of the population is living with HIV. The overall prevalence of HIV in the Caribbean is estimated to be between 1.1% and 2.2%. (Source: http://www.avert.org/aids-caribbean.htm)
• Transmission of HIV can be prevented by avoiding: sexual contact with a high-risk partner; injecting drug use with shared needles; non-sterile medical injections; unscreened blood transfusions.
• The threat of HIV/AIDS should not be a primary concern for the traveler. However, there may be a concern for a subset of travelers who may be exposed to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, through contact with another person晄 body fluids or blood. Although travel has contributed in a general way to the global spread of AIDS, fear of traveling because of this disease is not warranted.

Accidents & Medical Insurance: Accidents and injuries are the leading cause of death among travelers under the age of 55 and are most often caused by motor vehicle and motorcycle crashes; drownings, aircraft crashes, homicides, and burns are lesser causes.
• Heart attacks cause most fatalities in older travelers.
• Infections cause only 1% of fatalities in overseas travelers, but, overall, infections are the most common cause of travel-related illness.
• MEDICAL INSURANCE: Travelers are advised to obtain, prior to departure, supplemental travel health insurance with specific overseas coverage. The policy should provide for direct payment to the overseas hospital and/or physician at the time of service and include a medical evacuation benefit. The policy should also provide 24-hour hotline access to a multilingual assistance center that can help arrange and monitor delivery of medical care and determine if medevac or air ambulance services are required.

Dengue Fever: Dengue fever is a mosquito-transmitted, flu-like viral illness widespread in the Caribbean and is the most common cause of fever in travelers returned from this region. There is low apparent risk in the Bahamas. Symptoms consist of sudden onset of fever, headache, muscle aches, and a rash. A syndrome of hemorrhagic shock can occur in severe cases. Dengue is transmitted via the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito. Aedes mosquitoes feed predominantly during daylight hours. All travelers are at risk and should take measures to prevent daytime mosquito bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin and applying permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear.
• There is no vaccination or medication to prevent or treat dengue.
A dengue fever map is at: http://www.nathnac.org/ds/c_pages/documents/dengue_map.pdf

Hepatitis: All travelers not previously immunized against hepatitis A should be vaccinated against this disease. Travelers who are non-immune to hepatitis A (i.e. have never had the disease and have not been vaccinated) should take particular care to avoid potentially contaminated food and water. Travelers who will have access to safe food and water are at lower risk. Those at higher risk include travelers visiting friends and relatives, long-term travelers, and those visiting areas of poor sanitation.
• Hepatitis E may be endemic, but levels are unclear. Sporadic cases may be underdiagnosed or underreported. Transmission of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) occurs primarily through drinking water contaminated by sewage and also through raw or uncooked shellfish. Farm animals, such as swine, and also deer and wild boar, may serve as a viral reservoirs. (HEV is one of the few viruses which has been shown to be transmitted directly from animals through food.) In developing countries, prevention of hepatitis E relies primarily on the provision of clean water supplies and overall improved sanitation and hygiene. There is no vaccine.
• The overall hepatitis B (HBsAg) carrier rate in the general population is estimated at 2% to 7%. Hepatitis B is transmitted via infected blood or bodily fluids. Travelers may be exposed by needle sharing and unprotected sex; from non-sterile medical or dental injections, and acupuncture; from unscreened blood transfusions; by direct contact with open skin lesions of an infected person. The average traveler is at low risk for acquiring this infection. Vaccination against hepatitis B is recommended for: persons having casual/unprotected sex with new partners; sexual tourists; injecting drug users; long-term visitors; expatriates, and anybody wanting increased protection against the hepatitis B virus.
• Hepatitis C is endemic in the general population. Most hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread either through intravenous drug use or, in lesser-developed countries, through blood contamination during medical procedures. Over 200 million people around the world are infected with hepatitis C • an overall incidence of around 3.3% of the population of the world. Statistically, as many people are infected with HCV as are with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Malaria: As of January 2009 the CDC reinstated its advice to take chloroquine prophylaxis when visiting the Island of Great Exuma. Malaria was first reported in 2006. A case in a tourist from Germany was reported in 2008.
No other islands in The Bahamas are known to pose a risk of malaria.

Malaria is transmitted via the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Anopheles mosquitoes feed predominantly during the hours from dusk to dawn. All travelers should take measures to prevent evening and nighttime mosquito bites. Insect-bite prevention measures include applying a DEET-containing repellent to exposed skin, applying permethrin spray or solution to clothing and gear, and sleeping under a permethrin-treated bednet. DEET-based repellents have been the gold standard of protection under circumstances in which it is crucial to be protected against insect bites that may transmit disease. Nearly 100% protection can be achieved when DEET repellents are used in combination with permethrin-treated clothing.
NOTE: Picardin repellents (20% formulation, such as Sawyer GoReady or Natrapel 8-hour) are now recommended by the CDC and the World Health Organization as acceptable non-DEET alternatives to protect against malaria-transmitting mosquito bites. Picaridin is also effective and ticks and biting flies.
• You should consider the diagnosis of malaria if you develop an unexplained fever during or after visiting the Island of Great Exuma.

Marine Hazards: Swimming related hazards include jellyfish, spiny sea urchins, and sharp coral.
• Ciguatera poisoning occurs and can result from eating coral reef fish such as grouper, snapper, sea bass, jack, and barracuda. The ciguatoxin is not destroyed by cooking.
• Scuba Diving-Hyperbaric Chamber Referral: Divers Alert Network (DAN) maintains an up-to-date list of all functioning hyperbaric chambers in North America and the Caribbean. DAN does not publish this list, since at any one time a given chamber may be non-functioning, or its operator(s) may be away or otherwise unavailable. Through Duke University, DAN operates a 24-hour emergency phone line for anyone (members and non-members) to call and ask for diving accident assistance. Dive medicine physicians at Duke University Medical Center carry beepers, so someone is always on call to answer questions and, if necessary, make referral to the closest functioning hyperbaric chamber. In a diving emergency, or for the location of the nearest decompression chamber, call 919-684-8111. There is a decompression chamber of Lyford Cay but divers should be aware that this facility may not accept DAN dive insurance.
• The Bahamas Hyperbaric Centre
The Lyford Cay Hospital
Nassau, Bahamas.
24-Hr Tel: 242 362-4025
Chamber #: 242 362-5765


Other Diseases/Hazards: The hurricane season in the Caribbean occurs between June and November.

Rabies: The Bahamas is considered rabies-free, but stray and sometimes viscous dogs may be encountered. All unprovoked animal bites should be medically evaluated for possible post-exposure treatment.

Travelers' Diarrhea: Low to moderate risk. Raw seafood should be avoided. Outside of hotels and resorts, we recommend that you filter or purify all drinking water or drink only bottled water or other bottled beverages and do not use ice cubes. Avoid unpasteurized milk and dairy products. Do not eat raw or undercooked food (especially meat, fish, raw vegetables梩hese may transmit intestinal parasites, as well as bacteria). Peel all fruits.
• Wash your hands with soap or detergent, or use a hand sanitizer gel, before you eat. Good hand hygiene reduces the incidence of travelers• diarrhea by 30%.
• A quinolone antibiotic, azithromycin, or rifaximin (Xifaxin), combined with loperamide (Imodium), is recommended for the treatment of diarrhea. Diarrhea not responding to antibiotic treatment may be due to a parasitic disease such as giardiasis, amebiasis, or cryptosporidiosis.
• Seek qualified medical care if you have bloody diarrhea and fever, severe abdominal pain, uncontrolled vomiting, or dehydration.

Typhoid Fever: Typhoid vaccine is recommended by the CDC for all people (except short-stay visitors and cruise ship passengers) traveling to or working in the Caribbean, especially if visiting smaller cities, villages, or rural areas and staying with friends or relatives where exposure might occur through food or water. Current vaccines against Salmonella typhi are only 50-80% protective and do not protect against Salmonella paratyphi, the cause of paratyphoid fever. (Paratyphoid fever bears similarities with typhoid fever, but the course is generally more benign.) Travelers should continue to practice strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions, even if vaccinated.